The Central Bank of Nigeria says its intervention in the production of tomatoes currently stands at a little over N10bn in eight projects.
It stated that one of the projects, which is Dangote Green House tomato manufacturing project, had the capacity to produce 10 million tomato seedlings in a month.
The CBN noted that this would be sold to about 5,000 outgrowers that would grow and supply the tomato factory which commenced operations a few weeks ago with tomato fruits.
It added that the project had the capacity of generating one million jobs from supporting smallholder farmers in tomato cultivation to paste.
The CBN added that the project had the capacity to save the economy over $250m annually.
The Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said the bank increased its lending to the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, through targeted intervention schemes such as the Micro Small and Medium Enterprise Development Fund, Anchor Borrowers Programme, Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme and the Real Sector Support Facility.
“In particular, we sought to improve domestic supply of four commodities (rice, fish, sugar, and wheat), which consume about N1.3tn annually from our nation’s import bill,” he said.
To spur bank lending to the high-impact sector, he said the bank, at its July 2018 Monetary Policy Committee, pledged to refund Cash Reserve Ratio to banks under certain conditions.
“Banks that bring a proposal for funding of new projects or expansion of existing ones in agriculture and manufacturing sectors will, accordingly, qualify for CRR refund of up to 100 per cent,” he said.
The bank regulator said it expected that the banks would use the opportunity to expand credits to the manufacturing sector.
Emefiele said the drop in crude oil prices between 2015 and 2017 marked a turning point for the Nigerian economy.
“It necessitated the need to develop policies and programmes that will drive productivity across key sectors of the economy while reducing our dependence on foreign goods,” he said.
He expressed optimism of more growth and continued progress in reducing unemployment.
“The policy measures instituted by the monetary and fiscal authorities are enabling broad-based participation of farmers, textile workers and firms towards supporting the productive growth of the Nigerian economy,” Emefiele said.